JOHANNESBURG - Athletics South Africa (ASA) on Monday announced a 56-member ‘Preparation Squad’ for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
A notable inclusion was Gerda Steyn who finished 11th at the New York Marathon on Sunday. The 29-year-old bettered her previous best by over three minutes to take 11th place overall in the women’s race a time of 2:27:48.
The 2019 Two Oceans and Comrades Marathon champion also climbed to fourth place on the all-time SA women’s rankings times in the marathon. Colleen de Reuck holds the SA record with 2:26:35 she ran in 1996.
The squad includes 39 athletes (28 men and 11 women) in individual events, as well as 17 other athletes who make up the men's and women's 4x100m relay squads, along with the men's and mixed 4x400m relay squads.
This squad features sprinter Akani Simbine, marathon runner Stephen Mokoka, and long jumpers Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai, who all finished among the top five in their disciplines at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar two months ago.
A number of injured athletes have also been given places in the provisional squad, including Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk. They will need to prove full fitness if they hope to make the final team for the Tokyo Games.
Caster Semenya, who won the women's 800m title at the 2016 Rio Games, has also been included, though her place in the final team will depend on the outcome of an appeal lodged at the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland regarding international gender rules on women.
The provisional squad, who were selected based on their performances in 2019, will be monitored by the ASA high performance department in the build-up to the Tokyo Games where the track and field competition is scheduled to take place from31 July to 9 August.
The final ASA team will be announced by Sascoc (the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) closer to the Games.
“There are a lot of expectations from this team after the failure to capture medals in Doha. The Olympics are going to be a new competition for everyone even to those who were crowned champions at the World Champs,” said Aleck Skhosana, the president of ASA.
Males: Akani Simbine, Simon Magakwe, Thando Dlodlo, Clarence Munyai, Anaso Jobodwana, ** Luxolo Adams, **Wayde van Niekerk, Thapelo Phora, Derrick Mokaleng, Gardeo Isaacs, Tsepo Tshite, **Rynardt van Rensburg, Rantso Mokopane, Antonio Alkana, **Sokwakhana Zazini, Lindsey Hanekom, Zarck Visser, Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai, Orazio Cremona, Kayle Blignaut, **Victor Hogan, **Lebogang Shange, Wayne Snyman, Stephen Mokoka, Elroy Gelant, Desmond Mokgobu, Marc Mundell